Providing electricity to 2bn people a ‘major challenge’: Al-Attiyah
November 10 2015 11:09 PM

HE al-Attiyah speaks to Gulf Times at The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development yesterday. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

By Pratap John
Chief Business Reporter


Energising the world when 2bn people have no access to electricity is a major challenge to be tackled, said HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry.
“It is really unfair that one-third of the world still has no access to power and that they have to live in darkness,” al-Attiyah told Gulf Times yesterday.
The development of the power sector remained a “major challenge” for many countries around the world, he said.
“Every year, we hear about power shortage in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Electricity is the engine of growth; if you face power shortage, then it means your economy will be very depressed. This is something that needs to be tackled urgently,” al-Attiyah said.
Asked about his expectations for the oil price, al-Attiyah, a former Opec president said, “Oil price has always been cyclical. It may eventually rise.”
He said it was true that a prolonged period of depressed oil price will hamper investments in the industry.
Al-Attiyah, who was among the founders of the Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER), said the idea behind such an initiative was to bring both oil producers and consumers around a table.
“Asia is the biggest continent. We have lots of issues of common interest. We can work together on a lot of issues. Investments in the energy sector are a real focus area. The energy sector is not just oil
and gas, but mixed energy and power as well,” said the veteran statesman.
He said energy efficiency was very important not only for Qatar or the Middle East but also the entire world.
“By improving energy efficiency, we can reduce the cost as well as consumption,” al-Attiyah said.
He said the primary aim of The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development was to deliver useful counsel and share knowledge by providing information, research and analysis on energy and sustainable development, primarily related to the Arabian Gulf region.
“We will look to advise states on how to tackle such critical challenges as energy efficiency,” al-Attiyah said.
The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, which was formally launched on November 1, is the first think tank of its kind in the Middle East.
“I would like to see the not-for-profit foundation becoming the leading think-tank in the region and one of the leading institutions in the world in the areas of energy and sustainable development,” al-Attiyah said. Page 16

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